A significant risk factor to your house (and to your family) can be avoided easily by making sure that your roof and gutters are maintained properly. The risk of which I am speaking is having standing water along the base of your house’s walls. Standing water, left for too long without being taken care of, can cause irreparable damage to the foundation of a building. Not only that, but pools of water are the natural breeding grounds of innumerable bacteria and parasitic insects such as mosquitos. In many areas of the United States, mosquitos are known to carry such debilitating – and even fatal –diseases as the West Nile virus, amongst others. However, ensuring proper drainage and protecting your home and family are easy to do if you follow the proper steps.
The most common source of improper drainage woes is the fact that the gutters on houses are neither cleaned nor repaired properly by their owners. As any professional roofer could tell you, gutters need to be cleaned at least annually and inspected regularly for leaks, stoppages, and damage. At the very least, a gutter that remains clogged can cause significant damage to both the roof and walls of your house. On top of causing a need for roof repair, those blocked gutters make it so that rain water does not flow correctly through the downspouts and off to where it is supposed to be drained. This often leads to water collecting at the base of a house’s walls, where it sits and soaks into the ground. Over time, that extra water will eat away at the cement or concrete in the walls of the foundation of the house. The damage – or disaster – that the weakening of a house’s foundations can cause is incalculable.
As I said above, the pooling water is also a breeding ground for disease and sickness. Just like a swamp, standing water in our yards allows for microbes and bacteria to breed in the conditions that they favor. Illnesses that can be fatal – like the above mentioned West Nile virus or amoebic dysentery – are caused by microscopic life that infests water that stands without flowing – just like the pools of water that sit at the base of a dysfunctional downspout. Imagine if your dog were to drink from a pool full of bacteria like that – or even worse, your or a neighbor’s child.
The simplest remedy for having water pool up around your house is to make sure that all of the gutters and drains are clear and functioning. It is a simple task for most roofers to check and adjust the alignment of your drains while they are doing work on your house, and a roofing contractor could be hired if you notice drain damage before you need to have any roofing done. This isn’t to say that all drainage problems are roofing related – it is still possible that you need to have some of your property re-graded. However, keeping track of how well your gutters are working is an excellent first step.
I worked a few construction jobs when I was growing up during the summers and I learned a few things along the way. I never thought that I’d be designing and building my own house but now that it was happening, it felt like it was meant to be. There were obviously a lot of decisions to be made but I hired an old friend of mine to be the contractor for the job, he and I spent a lot of time talking about this and I felt like he could handle everything on my behalf. I even specifically told him that I didn’t want to be bothered about much, plus, I had a two week vacation planned in a week and I didn’t want to be bothered for any reason during that time. My fiancé and I had already answered a bunch of questions about the finishings, the kitchen and the counter tops, but we haven’t made a decision on some of the exterior details including the roof. It was a custom house and we needed to decide on a roofer who was certified to come in and install the shingles that were required per neighborhood covenants. It looked really nice, they were just expensive and we had some pretty extreme angles on our roof, so not just anyone could handle this particular roofing job. These were the type of decision that I thought Jeff was going to handle but I found myself delving in for some reason. All he needed to know was the color of the shingles but we really only had three options given to us by the Home Owner’s Association, so given the color of the paint we decided on, only one of the shingle options really made any sense.
I wondered if there was an opportunity to save any money if the roofing company we chose by any chance did exterior siding as well, I had to make a note of that so I could mention it to Jeff. I didn’t know if he searched as vigilantly as I did to save money on this build, he was my friend from high school and I believed that he had our best interest in mind, but I wasn’t sure how hard he worked to save us money. Like with this roofing situation for example; I know that a lot of roofing companies also perform siding and gutter installation services and you can save money by getting a package deal if you need more than one of their services. I knew that he’d be using a contractor that was licensed, bonded and insured but I was curious about how much he actually shopped around trying to save us on our building budget. I was going to do some research on a couple things and I really hoped that I didn’t discover too many different ways to save money so I didn’t have to fire my contractor and friend. I may be successful but I didn’t get here by sitting back and letting someone else tell me how it was gonna be.